In November 2009, Joy Loeffler mingled at a wedding reception in Indianapolis when she noticed a photo booth similar to those in malls or tourist traps. She watched as relatives donned large, outrageous hats and bright boas and stepped inside the photo booth. They made silly faces and laughed. For their efforts, they received four commemorative photos. “I was amazed at how much fun people were having,” Loeffler says, “and they came away with some great keepsakes.”
Loeffler loves photography, and at the time, she was enrolled in classes at Ivy Tech Community College which put her behind the lens. After the reception, she Googled “photo booths” in her hotel room. Her husband Jerry heads Loeffler Painting Co., and with his entrepreneurial spirit fueling her, Loeffler dreamed of running a business revolving around her hobby. Within a month, Loeffler purchased a 4-by-4 portable booth, ordered dozens of props — from fuzzy boas to fake noses — at costume shops such as Nick Nackery, and asked her Ivy Tech computer graphics instructor to develop a logo, business cards, and a website for her business: FunShots Photobooth.
By December 2009, Loeffler needed a gig, so she offered Pat Rayburn — a close friend and owner of Willow Lanes, a bowling alley — her services pro bono. “I didn’t want to charge anyone in case I crashed and burned,” Loeffler says. Rayburn gave Loeffler a chance at a company Christmas party held at Willow Lanes. It was guerrilla marketing. Interested partygoers took promotional materials, and her one-woman/one-photo booth business took off. By the end of 2010, her photo booth was in 10 events, and by March 2011, she had 30 reservations. Loeffler has a second photo booth ready for the 2011 wedding season beginning in April.
“Lots of times, there is a longer line (for the photo booth) than at the bar,” she says. At one reception, a group of young men headed to the booth. These were “really good-looking kids in their mid-20s, carrying that little wand and wearing the crown,” Loeffler says. “It’s a great ice-breaker.”
For more information, visit www.funshotsphotobooth.com.